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Meet Jeff Davenport

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Davenport.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Taking photographs was a bit of an unexpected path for me. I initially spent most of my creative life as a musician.

I moved into visual arts about five years ago, in my early 30s, sometime after my last band split up. My heart hurt, I was burnt out and I was experiencing that thing where your identity is so wrapped up your persona that when you walk away from it, there’s a bit of a crisis of self.

Around then I was spending a lot of time hanging with friends at a queer punk house down the street from where I lived in Denver. That time was special and helped inspire a reboot of my creative life. A wonderful photographer who lived there pushed me to start taking pictures again. I bought my first proper digital camera, a Fujifilm X100T that reminded me of my first manual 35mm, and I started taking photos again. It was a bit of a full-circle return to my roots and reignited an old passion for photographing and documenting my surroundings. I began with what I knew, candid social photos, capturing friends in the creative scenes around me.

My dad has always been a pretty avid photographer and introduced me to my first film cameras when I was young. In college I studied film under Stan Brakhage and other amazing experimental filmmakers at the University of Colorado Boulder. However, I was spending all my college money on Super8 and 16mm film so I decided to focus more on film history and theory. After taking a multi-year break from school to work at a design agency, I added an additional degree in Art History. I thought I was going to end up teaching or curating somewhere, but I was quickly pulled back into the design world for work and I focused on my music career instead.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Life has been a lot like my first Grateful Dead concert — a lot of people clapping, eating burritos from the back of a van, and me, feeling confused, unsure of which song the guitar solo started on. I wouldn’t say that was an easy experience but it did provide the groundwork for knowing what I didn’t want my life to look like.

I will say that I had nice parents. They told me a lot of supportive things. My dad once said, “If you can’t put on overalls, just start with the boots.” I like to think I’ve taken that to heart.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m probably best known for my night photography of Los Angeles, it’s something in-between landscape and street photography. If my work was in a 90s Blockbuster store, there would be a sticker that says, “If you like the movie Less Than Zero yet feel optimistic about Los Angeles, this is for you”… I’ve been looking for a catchy genre name but haven’t found it yet. I find it easier to just show people my Instagram. That move seems to solves a lot of dilemmas in my life.

I also do portraiture and like to work with other artists. I really enjoy interacting with people — it gets strange out at night alone. I’m thinking about investing in a drone I can pilot from my bedroom window lol.

Right now, I’m focusing on pushing the physicality of my work to a larger level. I want everything bigger and more tactile.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
A lot. I have a family that encouraged me to pursue creativity as a kid and were able to send me to schools with funding for arts programs. I never take that for granted.

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